This is a strange story. Back in February the Guido Fawkes’ Blog (promoter of the nasty side of the Tory party) ran a story about a letter written by Salisbury MP, John Glen, to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner accusing Sedgefield’s Labour MP, Phil Wilson of not declaring donations from local employer, Hitachi.
However it appears that the letter was never sent and, if I understand things correctly, it seems John Glen claims he did not even know about its contents until it appeared in the Guido Fawkes’ blog. The accusation is that the letter was part of an attempted ‘smear’ campaign against Phil Wilson but that John Glen never sent the letter. So it would seem that someone has some explaining to do – it all seems a bit murky at the moment.
This (below) is apparently a copy of the letter that John Glen did not send. Apparently he has also apologised to the MP and agreed there was no case for him to answer and said that the letter had been written by Conservative party ‘officials’.
According to the Northern Echo, John Glen declined to reply to requests for comments but a spokeswoman did not deny the letter was written for Mr Glen, saying only: “He did not send the letter to the Commissioner. The matter is now closed, as far as he is concerned.”
However, the Conservative Party insisted it did not write the letter for Mr Glen, saying: “We deny these allegations. Clearly it’s a matter for John.”
So where did the letter come from? Why was it in John Glen’s name? May be someone can enlighten us?
Dear Ms Hudson,
I am writing to draw your attention to a potential breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament, with regard to the declaration of financial interests.
On the 23rd January 2013, Phil Wilson MP registered a donation of £5,700 from Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd, and on the 31st January 2013 registered a donation of £5,700 from Merchant Place Developments.
In a Parliamentary debate on the 31st January, Mr Wilson spoke about Hitachi’s new factory in Newton Aycliffe, on a site developed by Merchant Place Developments. At no time did he draw attention to his entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
The Code of Conduct clearly states that, ‘a financial interest should be declared if it might reasonably be thought by others to influence the speech, representation or communication in question’. I note that Mr Wilson has mentioned Hitachi’s investment on no less than 22 separate occasions in Parliament, and lobbied Ministers in its favour. Clearly it is a matter of public interest to know whether or not there was any expectation of future financial interest when he made these speeches.
Of course it is entirely appropriate for Members to draw attention to successful businesses in their constituencies, particularly those that contribute to the decline in unemployment that the UK is experiencing under this government. However, where a Member has received significant political donation from a company, it is essential for transparency and public faith in Parliament for this to be made clear so that they may judge a Member’s remarks in that context.
John Glen MP
FURTHER THOUGHTS (but pure speculation):
Is the real story here that CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquarters) were trying to cook up a story using dirty tricks to malign another MP and deliberately ruin his career but John Glen who had been chosen to do the the dirty work was actually too honourable (or street wise) to get involved?
Any dirty tricks at CCHQ were quite likely to be initiated by the master of the ‘dark arts’, Lynton Crosby, the new campaign manger appointed by Cameron to take the Tories into the next election. This would be ironic indeed as John Glen was effusive in his praise for the new appointment as can be seen by this recent Tweet. This is particularly strange as Lynton Crosby may be a brilliant campaigner but decent does not seem to be an accurate description of his previous campaigns.
Complaint was “cooked up” by Tories, claim Northern Echo 11th March 2013
Guido Fawkes smear letter against Labour MP collapses Liberal Conspiracy 11th march 2013
Labour MP Reported Over Cash Questions Concern: Phil Wilson Goes Off the Rails Guido Fawke’s Blog 13th Feb 2013
How a ’sleaze’ story was manufactured Independent 12th March 2013
Lynton Crosby: the ‘evil genius’ taking Cameron into bare-knuckle politics Guardian 23rd Nov 2013)
Update April 2013: The influence of Lynton Crosby is becoming more obvious by the day as smear, vilification, demonisation, in fact all the dirty rhetorical tricks available, are incorporated into the speeches of cabinet ministers. How long before John Glen regrets his enthusiasm for Lynton Crosby?
False association / illusory correlation: a technique frequently used to deceive: e.g. Always start any speech on welfare with a rare and extreme example of abuse of the system with aim of subliminally (and falsely) smearing and vilifying all welfare recipients.
Lynton Crosby opponent, Andrew Cooper, quits as Crosby moves Conservative Party even further towards the Right. Daily Mail 14th April 2013
More Lynton Crosby dog whistle tricks?? UK considers offshore asylum camps: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/uk-considers-offshore-asylum-camps-report/story-fn3dxix6-1226620328337 … (The Australian 14th April 2013)